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Wednesday, February 23, 2005 

Book, cover, kettle, pot, black, etc, etc...

So there's this guy who goes to the gym at roughly the same time as me. Huge guy, the type who sets the machines to their heaviest weight and then gets some extra weights to put on them so they're heavy enough for him to use (I'm not making that up). The guy who, when a machine went a little wonky and no-one who works there was present, I naturally asked for help (and of course, he knew what to do). As with anyone I see regularly without knowing or talking to them, certain assumptions eventually formed in my mind.

Now, I didn't think he was stupid; it's a school gym, anyone as buff as he is who's using it must be some sort of academic. I didn't even assume he was a coach or a Human Kinetics guy or anything like that. But I still was still more than a little shocked in the change room today to hear him discoursing lucidly (and in my opinion at least, correctly) on the analytic/continental split and the limits of Nietzsche's relativity.

I guess because philosophy is such a small speciality it always surprises me that others are in it, even on the interest level. I think I assumed this guy was in history or something, oddly enough, but it never would have occured to me to guess philosophy.

And he's probably not in philosophy per se since I've never seen him at the philosophy department. But hearing the discussion was weird the same way it was weird overhearing part of The Princess Bride and realising they were discussing Socrates.

Of course, I don't think I look what people assume a philosophy major looks like either.

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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